Fewer people smoking

Martin Johnston at NZ Herald reports:

About 70,000 fewer adults smoke tobacco daily now than three years ago, the latest official survey has found. …

However, a preview snippet of the results, already published on the ministry’s website, says the provisional data indicates that about 17 per cent of people aged 15 or older are daily smokers. That equates to about 600,000 people.

The prevalence was more than one-tenth lower than in 2009, when the ministry found that 19 per cent of adults smoked daily.

Tobacco control and public health advocates have hailed the reduction as a vindication of the Government’s efforts to cut .

It is good news. Almost everyone who smokes, would like to give up – but they are addicted.

The focus should continue to be on policies that actually work at reducing smoking.

Smoking rates

Prevalence of daily tobacco smoking among people aged 15 or older:

23 per cent 2002/03
19 per cent 2006/07
17 per cent 2011/12

The breakdown by gender and ethnicity is interesting. In 2008, the prevalance rates were:

  • European women 21%
  • Maori women 49%
  • Asian women 5%

Also ironically, those who can least afford to smoke, are more likely to smoke. Those in the bottom quintile for deprivation were 2.7 times more likely to smoke than the top quintile.

The average number of cigarettes smoked appears to be 5,000 a year for a smoker, which is 200 packs of 25 a year. At $15 a pack, that is $3,000 a year – to help kill yourself.

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